How insulin affects blood sugar
Insulin is a hormone made naturally in the pancreas that helps move sugar into the cells of your body. Your cells use the sugar as fuel to make energy.
Without enough insulin, sugar stays in your bloodstream, raising your blood sugar. High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, can lead to the signs and symptoms of diabetes:
- Feeling extreme thirst or hunger
- Needing to go to the bathroom more often
- Blurry vision
Over time, hyperglycemia can damage your nerves, eyesight, and kidneys, so it’s important to get your blood sugar in the target range recommended by your health care provider. Insulin therapy can help control blood sugar levels.
Different types of insulin meet different needs
When you have diabetes, you either do not have enough insulin in your body to control your blood sugar or your body prevents the insulin it does make from working properly. Your health care provider may start you on a man-made insulin that can help control your blood sugar during the times of the day that you need it most.
Each type of insulin helps keep diabetes under control, but no one type is right for everyone. Each person’s insulin need is different. And each person’s insulin need may change over time. Your diabetes care team will prescribe the insulin that is best for you.
Different insulin treatments are grouped by how long they work
|Type of insulin||Onset||Duration|
|Long-acting||1 hour||Up to 24 hours|
|Rapid-acting||10-30 minutes||Up to 5 hours|
|Premixeda||10-30 minutes||Up to 24 hours|
Onset: 1 hour
Duration: Up to 24 hours
Onset: 10-30 minutes
Duration: Up to 5 hours
Onset: 10-30 minutes
Duration: Up to 24 hours
aPremixed insulin combines specific proportions of a long-acting insulin with insulin that provides coverage for a meal in one vial or insulin pen. (The numbers following the brand name indicate the percentage of each type of action.)
- Long-acting (basal) insulin. Long-acting insulin like Levemir® works to control blood sugar between meals and when you sleep. Long-acting insulin is taken once or twice daily at the same time each day (often with your evening meal or at bedtime) to help give you up to 24-hour blood sugar control. This is likely the first type of insulin your health care provider will prescribe for you if you have type 2 diabetes
- Rapid or fast-acting (bolus) insulin. Fast-acting insulin is taken near mealtime. This insulin works quickly to control the rapid spike in blood sugar after meals. Fast-acting insulin imitates the body’s natural release of insulin at mealtimes
- Premixed insulin. Premixed insulin combines the action of fast-acting and long-acting insulin. For example, a 70/30 mix means 70% of the mix is a longer-acting insulin and 30% is rapid coverage for a meal
Long-acting insulin can be taken along with rapid-acting insulin
When you need more control over your blood sugar levels, your doctor may suggest basal-bolus therapy. Basal-bolus therapy is recommended for people with type 1 diabetes. It may also be recommended for people with type 2 diabetes who need tighter blood sugar control.
People on basal-bolus therapy monitor their blood sugar levels closely and take insulin doses with meals and prior to bedtime. The goal of this kind of insulin therapy is to mimic the way blood sugar is controlled in your body.
Basal-bolus is one of the combination treatment plans that Levemir® long-acting insulin can be a part of to help you meet your blood sugar goals.Learn more about Levemir®
What is Levemir® (insulin detemir [rDNA origin] injection)?
- Levemir® is a man-made insulin used to control high blood sugar in adults and children with diabetes mellitus.
- Levemir® is not meant for use to treat diabetic ketoacidosis.
Important Safety Information
Who should not take Levemir®?
Do not take Levemir® if:
- you have an allergy to Levemir® or any of the ingredients in Levemir®
Before taking Levemir®, tell your health care provider about all your medical conditions including, if you are:
Talk to your health care provider about how to manage low blood sugar.
How should I take Levemir®?
- Read the Instructions for Use and take exactly as directed.
- Know the type and strength of your insulin. Do not change your insulin type unless your health care provider tells you to.
- Check your blood sugar levels. Ask your health care provider what your blood sugar levels should be and when you should check them.
- Do not share needles, insulin pens, or syringes. You may give or get an infection from another person.
- Never inject Levemir® into a vein or muscle.
What should I avoid while taking Levemir®?
- Do not drive or operate heavy machinery, until you know how it affects you.
- Do not drink alcohol or use medicines that contain alcohol.
What are the possible side effects of Levemir®?
Serious side effects can lead to death, including:
Low blood sugar. Some signs and symptoms include:
- anxiety, irritability, mood changes, dizziness, sweating, confusion, and headache.
Your insulin dose may need to change because of:
- change in level of physical activity, weight gain or loss, increased stress, illness, or change in diet.
Other common side effects may include:
- reactions at the injection site, itching, rash, serious allergic reactions (whole body reactions), skin thickening or pits at the injection site (lipodystrophy), weight gain, swelling of your hands and feet and if taken with thiazolidinediones (TZDs) possible heart failure.
Get emergency medical help if you have:
- trouble breathing, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, swelling of your face, tongue, or throat, sweating, extreme drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion.
Please click here for Levemir® Prescribing Information.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/safety/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Levemir® is a prescription medication.
If you need assistance with prescription drug costs, help may be available. Visit pparx.org or call 1-888-4PPA-NOW.